Unlike many tech fairs and congresses this year, which were canceled because of Covid-19, the IFA 2020 is still trying to take place somehow. The organizers of the big event in Berlin assured us at the beginning of May that they had already considered an alternative format that would be suitable for the unprecedented current conditions. After a press conference broadcast live on Tuesday, 19 May, we finally know more about these plans.
“IFA Berlin is the most important event for the consumer electronics and home appliances industry. In recent weeks, in close cooperation with the IFA team, we have developed a concept that provides all our industrial partners with the necessary platform to present their innovations,” says Hans-Joachim Kamp, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH and organiser of the IFA at the press conference. Under new circumstances, the IFA will actually be able to take place in Berlin in 2020 and open its doors.
Many manufacturers in the industry suffer from the failures of all major trade fairs, which have a significant share of the success of the companies. “After all the event cancellations in recent months, our industry desperately needs this platform to showcase its innovations. The IFA offers not only the best time but also efficient opportunities for participation,” says Jens Heithecker, Executive Director of IFA Berlin. Virtual events are certainly helpful, but they lack “the human emotional connection that makes events like the IFA Berlin so incredibly valuable,” Heithecker added. IfA 2020 will be partly physical, but the general public will not be involved.
A physical event, but tech fans go out empty-handed
First bad news for technophiles: IFA 2020 will not be open to the public. A physical event will be retained, but is reserved for industry professionals and 800 invited journalists. The Berlin authorities currently ban gatherings of more than 5,000 people.
The IFA organization goes even further, reducing this number to 1,000 people per event per day. “This enables us to meet the needs of brands, dealers and media while controlling the flow of people and thus taking into account social distancing measures,” explains Heithecker.
Breaking: IFA 2020 will go ahead as a physical event in Berlin this September https://t.co/PuCjwCEzvZ
— Katie Collins (@katiecollins)
May 19, 2020
So the event will be held for professionals in the sector, but not for tech fans. They have to be content with virtual events and keynote live streams on the Internet. The event will take place from Thursday 3 to Saturday 5 September 2020 and the live streams will be “accessible to everyone anywhere in the world”.
A maximum of 4,000 people will be present for the entire duration of the show. In order to check the state of health, daily checks are carried out at the entrance.
All four events take place on the main stage on the event grounds. One event per day, but there will also be some physical booths that are accessible to the media, for example for product launches and exchanges.
“Hybrid IFA” could also take place in 2021
From AndroidPit Jens Heithecker was asked if this new format could be used for future editions of the IFA. The IFA director said: “We believe we will be very successful, and if we are, we can refine our plan, clarify it and add the magic of the audience next year. Then we will definitely keep this new format smaller and more focused.”
The innovative side of IFA 2020, which was in the room before this press conference, is still missing. It is only a “hybrid fair”; physically for professionals and digitally for the audience. Good news for us journalists, who need to redouble our efforts to bring the magic of this great fair to your screens.